Write Michigan Contest offers venue for writers of all ages

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As time flies and ArtPrize wanes, residents of West Michigan will undoubtedly seek out a new place to engage artistic ventures. Fortunately, these individuals will not need to look very hard to find a new venue in which to express their creativity. Currently underway is the Write Michigan Contest, a short story writing competition open to all those living in Michigan.

Sponsored by Schuler Books & Music as well as both the Grand Rapids and Kent District Public Library systems, the Write Michigan Contest represents a coordinated effort to get people of all ages excited about writing fiction.

The Write Michigan Contest, which kicked off on Sept. 4, will accept entries until Nov. 30. Entries for the contest must be 3,000 words or less in length, but apart from this minor stipulation there are few rules that contestants must worry about. In order to get a wide audience involved, the contest will be held without regulation in regard to age; instead there will be a division for contestants 17 years of age and younger and one for contestants 18 years or older.

Heidi Nagel, Kent District Library’s communications manager, is one of many who are working to get the word out in regard to the Write Michigan Contest.

“We want to help authors introduce their work to a broad audience, as well as raise public awareness of libraries and their many offerings,” said Nagel.

Elaborating further on the opportunity that the Write Michigan Contest presents for aspiring authors is Schuler Books’ media liaison Emily Stavrou, who said, “We’re excited about publishing the winning entries via our Espresso Book Machine as a Chapbook Press title. The book is a great way to help writers get their short stories out to readers.” The Chapbook Press which Stavrou refers to acts as the publishing arm of Schuler Books and Music.

The Write Michigan Contest has already garnered a solid following from those looking to try their hand at some short story writing.

“The publishing world is a scary place,” says Margaret Schmidt, a freshman Calvin student participating in the Write Michigan Contest. “So many struggling authors are desperate to get published, and only the best of the best get even a glance from an editor. That’s why it’s so important to enter contests like these — starting local. They build up your writing resume, give you feedback on your stories, and most importantly, encourage you to keep on writing. It’s like a practice run at the real world of publishing, only without as much of the stress involved.”

Of course, if the simple chance to practice the craft of writing or the hope of getting published is not the enough to entice people into joining the Write Michigan Contest, the opportunity to win cash rewards might be. Runners-up will receive $100, and first place winners will receive $250. The first place awards are set to be distributed based upon a critic’s and reader’s decision for both the youth and adult divisions of the contest.

But regardless of the motivation which may drive people to compete in the Write Michigan Contest, those working for the contest will be pleased to see their competition gathering attention from both authors and the reading community at large.

“The Write Michigan Contest is a unique opportunity for writers, and we’re excited about helping facilitate it,” said Nagel.

About the Author

Nathan Slauer

Nathan Slauer serves as the editor of the opinion-editorial section of Chimes for 2014-2015. He is a fifth year senior from Grand Rapids, Michigan enrolled in the Secondary Education Program and majoring in Political Science, History, and Social Studies. Before serving as an editor, he worked as a Chimes staff writer from 2010-2014.

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